Retiring SchoolMessenger, Remind, Bloomz, ClassDojo & Others for ParentSquare
Case Study: Canandaigua City School District (NY)
Teachers across three different schools were using multiple applications (SchoolMessenger, Remind, Bloomz, ClassDojo and others) for school-to-home communications.
The unified ParentSquare platform with Secure Documents and Language Translation features, to reduce the number of tools being used while increasing reach and capabilities.
Significant time and cost savings, lower postage costs and instant data that supports fast decision-making and pivoting to address situations in real-time.
With 3,300 students in three schools, Canandaigua City School District in Canandaigua, NY, was using a variety of different applications for school-to-home communications, including SchoolMessenger and Remind. “They all handled separate aspects of our teacher-parent communications,” said Caroline Chapman, Director of Communications & Advisement, “but weren’t necessarily cohesive.”
The school was in the market for a new, unified platform when its director of technology discovered the ParentSquare platform for all school-home communications in the summer of 2019. After speaking with other districts about their experiences using school-to-home communication platforms, and taking its own staff member’s recommendation to heart, Canandaigua City School District decided to implement ParentSquare.
“The timing was ideal,” said Chapman. “During the first week of April, we Zoomed with every instructional staff member for our training sessions, each of which only took about 30 minutes.” After that, the district was up and running on its new platform, which effectively replaced all of the disparate communication applications it was previously using.
Checking All of the Boxes
The new platform also had to integrate with the district’s student information system, Infinite Campus, and be able to message, post and manage automated calls from one place.
Tracking Responses Minute-by-MinuteWith ParentSquare in place, the district set up templates for Monday-through-Friday messages, or posts, that instructors use at the primary and elementary school levels. Because there are different cohorts of students at the secondary level, the district set the system up to be easily accessible while also displaying simple features like duplicating and/or reformatting previously-used posts in order to save time.
Working with the district’s superintendent Jamie Farr, the Canandaigua team used ParentSquare’s post scheduling feature to send out his regular newsletters. A member of the ParentSquare Advisory Council, Farr is a regular user of the ParentSquare platform. “He understood and appreciated the idea of consolidating our school-home communications on one platform,” said Chapman, “and realized that this was a necessary tool for our district.”
The district is also using the Secure Document platform to field state-required digital equity surveys. For the latter, a PDF is generated for each student in the district and includes a custom survey link for each one of them. That survey then gets automatically delivered to the parents who complete the survey.
Using ParentSquare, the district was able to monitor parent survey responses as they came in, process the feedback and then adjust accordingly. It used a similar approach with a 2021 learning choice survey, where it used the responses to adjust schedules even before the survey closed out. “We used ParentSquare to stay on top of the results as they came in, minute-by-minute,” Chapman said.
The Technology Has Paid for Itself
Adding up the amount of money it now saves on postage, Canandaigua City School District currently has a school-home communications platform that’s paid for itself. Just 15 weeks into the 2021-22 school year, for example, the district had already used ParentSquare to send out more than 15,000 pieces of communication.
“When you consider that volume of messages, the time savings aspect, the postage saved and the fact that we don’t need a dedicated team to handle this automated system,” said Chapman, “there’s clearly a major cost savings associated with our use of the platform.”
Moving forward, Tracy Lindsay, school district data specialist, said the district plans to use ParentSquare to send out census verification to all district families — an exercise that would normally require the physical mailing of about 3,000 envelopes. “Instead,” Lindsay said, “we intend to orchestrate that census mailing using PDFs with Secure Documents right through ParentSquare.”
These are just some of the ways that Canandaigua City School District is using ParentSquare to improve its school-home communications and to get everyone working from the same playbook. “Our lives are busy, and we need things to be simple. This is one place we can bring people to so that they can see what they need for school,” Chapman pointed out.
“ParentSquare is available on the app or web, it’s searchable and it’s easy to access,” she added. “Finally, it allows everyone to manage things without becoming overwhelmed.”
“When you consider that volume of messages, the time savings aspect, the postage saved and the fact that we don’t need a dedicated team to handle this automated system, there’s clearly a major cost savings associated with our use of the platform.”
Director of Communications & Advisement
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